Chess Puzzle of the Week (87)


I’m currently working on my forthcoming book Chess Puzzles for Heroes, of which much more later. This book comprises puzzles taken from the Richmond Junior Chess Club database (almost 17000 games played between 1976 and 2006).

I was going to use this position, but decided it was probably too hard for my purpose, so I’ll give it to you instead.

Black to play, and I expect you to give me several variations. As in all questions in the book, the more you tell me, the more points you score.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (86): Solution


For the last few summers I’ve been writing posts about my games from the previous season on GM Nigel Davies’ Chess Improver blog.

In this game, against David Scott of Surbiton, I missed a win: 36. h4 Be7 37. Bf2 followed by Bb6, or 36… Be3 37. e6 fxe6 38. Be7. Instead I played the immediate 36. Bf2 which only drew after Ke7.

The above link will take you to the complete game.

Diamond Wedding Anniversary

I’m sure you’ll all join me in sending best wishes to RTCC legend Michael Franklin, an English international in the 1960s.

Michael and his wife Jean celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary today. Congratulations to you both, and many thanks, Michael, for representing Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club with immense skill and quiet dignity for more than half a century.

Michael is not a computer user himself but I’m sure he’ll receive the message as he keeps in touch with many of his old friends in the chess world.

Wishing Michael and Jean a wonderful time on this very special day.

Here’s a game in which he deploys one of his trademark openings.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (85)


It’s been a while since I gave you a problem to solve. This is a helpmate in 2, composed by Andy Kalotay (USA) and first published in the November 2019 issue of The Problemist supplement.

In a helpmate in 2, Black plays the first move and both sides work together to produce a checkmate on White’s second move. There are two solutions.

It’s not so hard so do have a go and let me know if you find both solutions.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (84): Solution


Last week’s answer: the game continued 1. Ng5+! hxg5 2. hxg5 g6 3. Rh8+! Kxf8 4. Qxf7 and Black, faced with Rh1#, resigned.

Black had a hidden defence: 2… Bd6 when there are lots of good moves for White, but 3. Rh8+? now loses to 3… Kxh8 4. Qxf7 Qc7! 5. Rh1+ Bh2.

As Willy Hendriks puts it: “So 1 point for Ng5, 1 extra point for the Rh8+ tactic and 2 more points for those who saw this isn’t correct after 2… Bd6 (please raise your hands – well, as usual, only the silicon guy).

Not only the silicon guy, Chris Baker as well. Congratulations!

To misquote Margaret Thatcher, every chess player needs a Willy!

My forthcoming book Chess Puzzles for Heroes will include several hundred similar puzzles. Further news next month!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (84)


You might have read my enthusiastic review of On the Origin of Good Moves by Dutch IM Willy Hendriks.

Here’s another position from the book. It’s White to play in a 1955 correspondence game between Petar Orev and Gillhausen: how should the game continue? I expect analysis of two variations on Black’s second move.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (83): Solution


Last week’s puzzle was submitted by Richard Thursby. Black cannot capture safely on d4: 1… Bxd4 2. Nxd4 (but not 2. Rd1 Bxf2+) 2… Qxd4 loses to 3. Re8+ (which wouldn’t work if White had a pawn on h2 rather than h3) 3…Kh7 4. Qf5+ g6 5. Qxf7+.

Black could also try 2… Qc4 when White can win most simply with 3. Re4 (or also, for instance, 3. Kg2 Rxd4 4. Re8+ Kh7 5. Qf5+ which leads to mate).

There’s also 2… g5 when 3. Qf6 will keep the extra piece as Qxd4 is again met by Re8+.

This position demonstrates several important tactical ideas.

If you have a puzzle, from one of your own games or from elsewhere, you’d like to submit please get in touch.

Book Reviews

Some of you will be aware that I’m currently writing book reviews (most but not all are reviews of books loosely concerned with chess history) for the British Chess News website.

You might be interested in my two most recent reviews:

Sultan Khan, written by GM Daniel King (who, by the way, lives very near the Roebuck) is a biography of one of the most fascinating characters in the history of our game. At one point he was a member of Kingston Chess Club.

On the Origin of Good Moves is an outstanding new book by Dutch IM Willy Hendriks concerning the development of chess between about 1600 and 1900.

I can recommend these two books very highly. I’m sure most of our readers will be interested in both of them.